Schiaparelli’s Daniel Roseberry is a rare success story to emerge from the pandemic. The designer has positioned himself as one of our industry’s most brilliant creators. He makes clothes out of a sheer passion for beautiful craft, transforming the surrealist codes that built the foundations of Elsa Schiaparelli’s brand into a wardrobe of marvellous concoctions packed with real star power.
His front row at Monday’s couture show was testament to this. Held in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs where the retrospective Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli is due to open this week, the likes of Hunter Schafer, Natasha Lyonne and Emma Watson all wore wacky and wonderful pieces from Roseberry’s back catalogue.
In his show notes, the designer spoke of fashion’s desires to prove itself as a serious industry in the face of being labelled silly or pointless. “In recent years, though, it’s felt like fashion has tried its hardest to prove it actually isn’t silly. The pressure designers feel to make a statement about the current political situation, our ongoing climatic disaster, the inequalities among people of different races and genders, and an age of war has in fact led to some extraordinary work, not to mention a reengagement of our industry with the broader culture,” he says. “But it’s also led to a sometimes dreary self-seriousness, one that foregrounds fashion with sloganeering. It’s easy to be self-serious. The more difficult path is remaining an engaged member of society while also, in one’s work, daring to return to a kind of creative innocence, to the state of wonder and awe we all felt when we saw our first transcendent show.”
As Roseberry writes: “to make truly beautiful things isn’t actually that easy”. His magnetising creations this season were inspired by the clothes Elsa wore herself, and the artisans inspired by her design hand, particularly Christian Lacroix… Like tailored jackets with broad shoulders, fashioned from velvet, and bustier frocks and corsets that bloomed into bouquets of three-dimensional hand-painted tulips. One Stephen Jones-designed straw hat – suspended mid-air – came paired with a gown made of 60500 freshwater pearls, and ivory silk taffeta skirts and gowns bloomed into romantic floral silhouettes.
This is fashion of the highest calibre; clothes that not only shock and excite, but hold the power to move you.
Photography courtesy of Schiaparelli.